Style Shack joined the Highland Park lifestyle about ten years ago when two incredibly inspirational women, Dawn Pye and Sherry Levin, went into business. While neither of the women had career backgrounds in retail, they had a dream for a genuinely personal luxury gift boutique that would soon become all the rage. Dawn’s family had retail businesses in their home country of South Africa and as she put it, “ it's in the genes”. I had the pleasure of interviewing the two wildly creative and personable minds behind Style Shack to get the origin story that we’re all dying to hear.
Sherry: Dawn and I met in the paint aisle of the craft hardwood store. We struck up a conversation about glossy paint and it was truly a beautiful story. It's our story.
Dawn: I actually picked her up. I saw her talking and I thought to myself, "wow she looks so friendly!" I should go talk to her and I did. We both had kids of comparable ages.
Sherry: We became immediate friends. We decided to go meet in the local park and we actually did; from there we were just inseparable.
Interviewer: How did Style Shack come to be?
Sherry: We met in this very serendipitous way. Dawn and I started a business out of the basement that evolved into a store front. We traveled to churches, synagogues, schools and so many bazars. At first we began with two basements full of products. Eventually, we turned the business into one and eventually rented a small space in the old Highland Park movie theater. We went month to month at the beginning, in this little space.
Dawn: We did that for three years and until we found our current location approximately ten years ago. It's kind of crazy that this beautiful friendship has turned into an incredible business venture.
Interviewer: What would you say is the key to being business partners and friends simultaneously?
Sherry: Our combination works. It is very organic and natural. People feel the authenticity of our friendship and the business as well. We genuinely want to make people happy. We want our customers to find amazing things. We really try to make everyone feel comfortable when they come in.
There is an overwhelming amount of charm to be found in their brick and mortar store.
Sherry articulated beautifully, “the brick and mortar is where you find the heart of the store. That's really where we get to know people and get a sense of what they enjoy.”
As we see more and more companies rush to get rid of their storefronts, these business women are making their case for why we need in-person relationships now more than ever before.
Interviewer: So why Style Shack? What makes this store different from the other gift stores?
Sherry: I feel that our personal touch is what distinguishes us. We pay attention to detail and that seems to be unique nowadays in the retail world. We get to know our customers and we like that people get to know us as well. A visit to Style Shack is a special experience. We've worked with the same team for a decade. Most of all, I think that our brand loyalty allows for a fantastic level of connection with the customer.
Dawn: Everybody is treated like a rockstar. I think that's what's different about us. Our people care and want to interact in a positive and fun way.
Sherry: We are a gift giving boutique. There are very few places that offer gift packaging and one-on-one gift giving help. Sometimes people struggle over giving a gift because they want to be thoughtful yet economical. We draw a lot of business for offering professional guidance to customers.
Dawn: It's impossible to find that online. It’s like buying a wedding dress. Are you going to buy a wedding dress online? Probably not. It's the same with gift giving. If you want something personalized that comes from a genuine place; you can't always find that by just looking online.
You should expect to see and hear more from these lovely ladies in the coming future.
Written by Mia Drelich